WHO Now Officially Recommends to Avoid Taking Ibuprofen For COVID-19 Symptoms
March 17, 2020
The World Health Organization recommended Tuesday that people suffering COVID-19 symptoms avoid taking ibuprofen, after French officials warned that anti-inflammatory drugs could worsen effects of the virus.
The warning by French Health Minister Veran followed a recent study in The Lancet medical journal that hypothesised that an enzyme boosted by anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen could facilitate and worsen COVID-19 infections.
Asked about the study, WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told reporters in Geneva the UN health agency's experts were "looking into this to give further guidance."
"In the meantime, we recommend using rather paracetamol (known in the US as Tylenol or acetaminaphen), and do not use ibuprofen as a self-medication. That's important," he said.
He added that if ibuprofen had been "prescribed by the healthcare professionals, then, of course, that's up to them."
His comments came after Veran sent a tweet cautioning that the use of ibuprofen and similar anti-inflammatory drugs could be "an aggravating factor" in COVID-19 infections.
"In the case of fever, take paracetamol," he wrote.
The French minister stressed that patients already being treated with anti-inflammatory drugs should ask advice from their doctor.
Paracetamol must be taken strictly according to the recommended dose, because too much of it can damage the liver.